Powered by the common mission of ensuring public safety and the continuous conveyance of electricity, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Meralco’s Chief Legal Counsel Atty. William S. Pamintuan and Chief Commercial Officer Engr. Ferdinand O. Geluz, Secretary Eduardo M. Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), then Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Debold M. Sinas, and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Chief Jose S. Embang, Jr.
Under the MOU, the Parties agree to support each another in implementing relevant laws and government issuances such as the Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act, Ease of Doing Business Act, Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act, National Building Code, Philippine Electrical Code, Revised Fire Code, Revised Penal Code, and the DILG Memorandum Circulars (MC) on Road Clearing.
The MOU was officially signed on December 21, 2020, followed by a DILG MC dated January 25, 2021, directing all local government units (LGUs), PNP, and BFP to perform their respective roles under the MOU to achieve its objectives.
“We are pleased to see this MOU adopted by all Parties as a testament that we are altogether focused on championing the best interests of the public,” Meralco’s Chief Legal Counsel Atty. William S. Pamintuan said.
Meralco Chief Commercial Officer Engr. Ferdinand O. Geluz stated that the discussions among the Parties, which eventually led to the signing of the MOU have been insightful and constructive, saying, “Each Party not only shared a uniquely significant perspective but also extended the extremely indispensable willingness to recognize and respond to such perspective in a manner that will address the challenges we all face together in such an unprecedented time.”
The Parties will officially form an Executive Committee (EXECOM) composed of members from DILG, PNP, BFP, and Meralco, which will be co-chaired by DILG and MERALCO. With the guidance of DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año, BFP Chief Jose S. Embang, Jr., and the new PNP Chief Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, the EXECOM will regularly meet to operationalize and converge efforts among Meralco, DILG, BFP, PNP and LGUs for proper implementation of the MOU.
On March 1, 2021, the MERALCO Board of Directors passed a Resolution appointing Atty. Oscar P. Moreno, Jr. and Engr. Sante C. Buella as the representatives of MERALCO to the EXECOM as Co-Chairman and as Member, respectively, to lead and oversee the execution of the MOU.
One of the foremost wins for the public within the new MOU, is a provision requiring the creation of Committees and Technical Working Groups that will take charge of supporting the EXECOM and will enact implementing guidelines in line with the four (4) pillars of the MOU: i) Public Order and Safety; ii) Regulatory Compliance and Legal Matters; iii) Strategic Operations and Communications, and iv) Corporate Social Responsibility.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año is hopeful that the MOU, the MC, and the ensuing implementing guidelines will send a positive message to the public. “With a strong partnership between the public and the private sectors, we can achieve great results by acting upon the best interests of the public – uninterrupted delivery of electric service and public safety.”